Chapter Eleven: Mechanisms Of Human Evolution In The 21st Century

III. Darwinian Evolution Until 2060

The most important influences on the nature of humans (a broader concept than just the human genome) during the first half of this century will include Darwinian evolution, bionics, robotic, gene therapy and manipulation, and cultural change. These will be briefly characterized, then discussed in more depth, with particular attention to their interplay with the globalization process and our groupish natures.

Darwinian evolution, of course, affects only the human genome. It is a vexed question as to whether it continues at all in the face of so many influences tending to equalize the life (and mating) chances of humans.

Bionics, encompassing all those artificial devices which might replace or extend or add to human bodies and minds.

Robotics, limited in this context to artificial devices separate from humans which perform tasks requiring quasi-human or quasi-animal attributes.

Gene therapy and manipulation, referring to processes which alter the genetic endowment of an individual, before or after birth; the resulting genetic changes may or may not be transmissible.

Cultural change refers to the impact of society, in the broadest sense, on the nature of an individual, whether that impact has a result in terms of genetic transmissibility or not.